IBM today announced the first Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) center devoted solely to helping U.S. federal agencies adopt and benefit from SOA information technology (IT) initiatives. The IBM Federal SOA Institute is focused on three important mandates -- innovation, solution development and testing, and education.

SOA is a way of architecting an organization's IT technology to more closely align with business goals. By doing so, organizations gain greater efficiencies, cost savings and enhanced flexibility to meet changing business needs. At the federal level, SOA initiatives have taken on greater urgency as agencies face budget constraints, security concerns and aging IT systems.

"IBM is uniquely able to combine our extensive knowledge in delivering IT systems to federal agencies with deep expertise in integrated, open-standards-based technologies," said Anne K. Altman, managing director of IBM's U.S. federal business. "We believe this first-of-a-kind center will help federal agencies identify new ways to build and utilize IT systems, quickly improve and reuse legacy systems, and reduce overall application development, operations and management."

A key goal of the institute will be to spur innovation by cultivating collaboration among IBM researchers, universities and federal agencies. In the institute's working lab, SOA methodologies and technologies are being designed, tested and demonstrated specifically for federal environments. The lab is also assisting with customer-related pilots, and serving as a central location to collect reusable technology assets and best practices that can accelerate acceptance.  As part of the educational mission, the institute has launched a speaker series for senior-level customers and technology partners on topics such as SOA governance, Service Oriented Modeling, security, and reuse of legacy assets in an SOA.